“To me, going the extra mile really means meeting people where they are in life.”
— Mallory Donaldson, Community Relations Manager
Since joining the COTA team as our community relations manager in October, Mallory Donaldson became deeply involved in developing a needs assessment among 70+ of our nonprofit partners. To Donaldson, a needs assessment helps COTA hone in on how to better serve our community through the lens of transportation. Then, as the pandemic swept across the nation, her work took on an even greater sense of urgency.
“We have the opportunity to provide folks with things that they need during this time. Whether that’s face masks or hand sanitizers or meal kits, COTA has really taken our mission — to move every life forward — and made that an action,” Donaldson says. “To be able to work on these different projects and connect people with resources is truly being able to work in my passion and purpose every day.”
Donaldson says that she feels called to meet people where they are in life. This vocation manifests in her work. For example, when COTA began requiring customers to wear masks on transit vehicles, Donaldson helped create a system that provides free masks in our most vulnerable communities where masks may not be readily available.
“We took it upon ourselves to collect donated masks from the community. Then, we went to some of our high capacity stops and passed them back out to make sure that we are continuing to move every life forward and meet people where they are. That was an initiative that COTA thought would be truly helpful in these times, and it turned out to be great,” says Donaldson. “We’ve collected about 21,000 masks, to date. We’re pushing them back out into the community through our nonprofit partners to our riders.”
Through her work, Donaldson continues to identify community needs and develop creative solutions to meet those needs. She brings her ingenuity and tenacity to the table every day.
“To me, going the extra mile really means meeting people where they are in life. Whether I am picking up masks from some of our older residents who took the time to hand-make masks, passing them out to our COTA riders, or helping coordinate meal opportunities,” says Donaldson. “That really is going the extra mile, again, because it’s meeting people where they are in life and continuing to move their life forward.”